Most WordPress websites can be classified as either simple or complex. Business portfolio or informative websites are fairly simple, while others such as online learning and membership sites fall into the latter category.
Online learning platforms, discussion forums, social networks, or other membership websites require special attention to detail for proper configuration and setup. Otherwise, it will be a constant hassle to optimize for scalability, performance, speed, and longevity.
Here, I will go over the challenges, dos, and don’ts of hosting WordPress membership sites to help you cover all of your bases.
Let’s get to it, then.
Types of WordPress Membership Websites
Let’s view the types of WordPress memberships and the purposes they serve:
- Online learning websites that use LMS to organize and sell courses to students.
- Community forums to discuss similar interests or provide answers to questions asked by other members.
- Social networks
- E-commerce websites that provide incentives, review systems, or special deals to members.
When looking for hosting for these complex sites, carefully consider all of the dos and don’ts in this piece for optimum performance.
Common Challenges Faced by WordPress Users
Unlike business portfolio websites, WordPress membership websites are not static. The content is not just sitting there, but constantly enhanced and evolving. Some websites are password-protected for limited access to a set of information, while others encourage the interaction of members in community discussion boards and various forums.
Listed below are a few common challenges faced with WordPress membership hosting.
Challenge #1 – Concurrent Visitors
Visitors tend to spend a lot more time on membership sites than they do on blogs or business websites. After all, content such as tutorial videos, courses, training sessions, and even live webinars are designed to keep visitors engaged for hours. As a result, the site has to handle large numbers of visitors at the same time.
Challenge #2 – Complex queries
Since users have access to areas or content based on their subscription tier, membership sites generate a lot of complex queries that need to be catered to. Given the huge amounts of data that need to be retrieved from the MySQL database, latency is a common issue. After all, there are a lot of users relying on the search function and using the database at the same time.
Challenge #3 – High Density of Uncacheable Content
WordPress membership sites typically include discussion boards, checkout pages, and a login page. Based on the number of active members, these pages keep updating and can’t be cached. Uncacheable content poses a problem with real-time content delivery without sacrificing performance.
What’s more, standard WordPress dashboards are not cached for logged-in users – except membership sites aren’t standard. With thousands of users accessing the dashboard, this can snowball into major performance issues quite fast.
Challenge #4 – Large Amounts of Data to be Stored
With training courses, discussion boards, videos, downloads, and membership profiles, the amount of data on membership sites is huge. And it’s just going to keep piling up as the site adds more content. The obvious challenge is that your storage space will be used up in no time.
Dos for WordPress Membership Hosting
With those challenges in mind, here are some factors to consider when picking your Membership hosting.
Do #1 – PHP Version Support
As PHP versions are updated, membership plugins are updated to support the latest version for better performance. Usually, having the latest version does the job. PHP 7.2 is said to perform better than previous versions, with faster and more efficient query handling.
WordPress membership sites use PHP-based plugins. However, some plugins support PHP 5.6, while others are updated to PHP 7.x, or even PHP 8. You should choose a hosting provider that’s compatible with a variety of PHP versions so that your website runs smoothly on older PHP versions, and even when the plugins are updated to the latest one.
Do #2 – Performance Optimized Hosting
Having your membership sites hosted on fastest WP hosting platforms is of utmost importance. You should choose a hosting provider with multiple, global data centers. This allows visitors to access your website from nearby servers, decreasing the time to first byte (TTFB) and latency.
Scalability is another all-important feature to consider when looking for hosting. Choose a WordPress hosting service that allows you to scale with your growing business. The ability to increase your RAM, CPU and other hardware resources alongside your memberships will take care of performance issues without breaking a sweat.
In addition, make sure your hosting provider offers dedicated resources and separate containers for your WordPress membership site. For optimized performance, don’t even share these resources with your other sites. Check out why Cloudways is the best pressable alternative for a reason.
Do #3 – Object Caching
Websites use caching to reduce loads from web servers and serve content quicker. You may have a plugin to cache data for your site. However, membership sites require object caching to perform optimally.
Object caching is the storing of database query results based on historical searches. So, when a similar query is entered, it is retrieved from the cache rather than the database again. This significantly lifts the load from the database and improves PHP execution speed.
Object Cache Pro (Redis Cache) is one such plugin that makes object caching easier, improving the performance of your WordPress membership site. Object Cache Pro pricing begins at $79/month, but if you choose Cloudways, you get it pre-installed and for free!
Do #4 – Data Offloading
As mentioned earlier, WordPress membership sites have a large and increasing amount of content in the form of courses, videos, documents, and images that consume your disk space quickly. If you find a cost-saving, alternative storage solution to offload your data, you’ll be able to save yourself from a hosting plan upgrade.
Don’ts for WordPress Memberships Hosting
Don’t #1 – Avoid Counters
When you have a membership website, don’t use counters unless you absolutely have to. Displaying the number of posts, views, shares, or subscribers/members on every profile or post will burden the database.
Don’t #2 – Excessive use of Plugins
Performance becomes an issue if you have too many plugins installed on your WordPress membership sites. You can decrease the number of requests by getting rid of unnecessary or unused plugins; this will help troubleshoot errors with ease.
Don’t #3 – Multiple Page builders
A lot of unnecessary code is generated by using multiple page builders, and this leads to performance issues. Instead, for your membership site, you should create a simple page template or have it created by a developer to avoid an army of page builders.
Don’t #4 – Third-Party Integrations
Some of these integrations communicate with their services and APIs to function and having many such integrations can lead to severe latency issues. Conversely, there are some third-party integrations designed to complete tasks without harming your site’s performance.
When you want to integrate third-party automation platforms or CRM systems on your WordPress membership site, choose wisely.
Whether you have an online magazine, subscription magazine, ecommerce store, discussion board, or social network, your WordPress membership site needs hosting that helps you overcome the challenges of concurrent users, complex queries, uncacheable content, and large amounts of data.
Cloudways offers dedicated, managed hosting solutions for your membership sites. Choose from a variety of hosting providers, and set up your plan to ensure scalability and speed.
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